Jesus tells us to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. He also tells us that, one way or another, everyone is our neighbor and that we should love our neighbors by treating them they way we would like to be treated. Here at St. John’s we try to live out Jesus’ teaching by support several local, national, and international mission efforts. If you want to find out more about how St. John’s supports these groups you can get in touch with Don Rives, the chair of our Mission Committee.
CROP Hunger Walk: Folks from St. John’s participate in the Bethlehem area CROP Hunger walk, which takes place annually in October. CROPwalkers collect pledges from sponsors and the money raised goes to support food-related programs for needy people in the Bethlehem area. To learn more about the CROP Hunger Walk visit www.crophungerwalk.org. To learn about how you can participate in this year’s CROP Walk at St. John’s, contact Ray Miller at
New Bethany Ministries: Founded on the South Side of Bethlehem in the 1980s, New Bethany Ministries is an ecumenical group dedicated to providing “opportunities for a secure future to the hungry, homeless, poor, and mentally ill of the Lehigh Valley. New Bethany does this by running a soup kitchen, shelters and transitional housing, counseling services, a food pantry, and much, much more. St. John’s partners with New Bethany Ministries by donating to their food pantry, by providing warm coats and gloves for the people they serve in the winter, and by volunteering at the soup kitchen and food pantry. If you would like to find out more about New Bethany, you can check out their website at www.newbethanyministires.org.
Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to helping hard-working, low-income families in the Lehigh Valley gain stable housing of their own, which is essential for long-term family success. (Although, really, did you need us to tell you that; is there anyone out there who doesn’t know what Habitat for Humanity is all about?) St. John’s has worked on a number of Habitat for Humanity project houses. To find out more about the great things Habitat is doing in the Lehigh Valley visit www.habitatlv.org.
Church World Service: Founded after World War II, Church World Service has grown into a national and international mission and relief agency that coordinates the international mission work of 37 American Christian denominations, including St. John’s own United Church of Christ. St. John’s support Church World Service financially through the United Church of Christ’s Neighbors in Need and One Great Hour of Sharing offerings (read more about them below) and by assembling Hygiene Kits and School Kits which CWS sends to people all around the world. Oh, and by participating the in CROP Hunger Walk, which is a CWS ministry. To find out more about Church World Service, just visit www.cwsglobal.org.
Neighbors in Need: The Neighbors in Need offering is one of two annual national mission offerings taken by St. John’s denomination, the United Church of Christ. All the money raised in the Neighbors in Need offering goes to support justice and compassion ministries here in the United States, with a third of the offering going to support the Council for American Indian Ministry, which provides services to Native American tribes and on reservations. To find out more about the good the Neighbors in Need offering does visit www.ucc.org/nin.
One Great Hour of Sharing: Started after World War II by a group of Protestant denominations and originally focused on Christian relief efforts in war-torn Europe, One Great Hour of Sharing is today focused on international ministry in four areas: water projects, hunger relief, disaster relief, and individual and community development and empowerment. The annual One Great Hour of Sharing offering is the second national missions offering taken by the United Church of Christ and money collected in the OGHS offering supports important projects all over the world. If you want to learn more about OGHS, go to www.onegreathourofsharing.org.